Pentagon Planning for Long-Term Continued Use of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba                                                                                                            

U.S. military officials this week told journalists that the U.S. was planning major improvements at Guantanamo Bay. They included a new dining hall with a lifespan of 20 years for guards at the detention center; barracks costing $150 million with a lifespan of 50 years; and a new super-max prison unit to replace one (Camp 7) that is in need of major repairs. [1]

Adm. John Ring, commander of the task force that runs the detention facility or prison, said, “Now my mission is enduring. So I have all sorts of structures that I have been neglecting or just getting by with that now I’ve got to replace.”

These thoughts were echoed by the commander of the guard force, Army Col. Stephen Gabavics, who said, “We’ve got to plan for the long term. We ultimately have to plan for whether or not they [the detainees] are going to be here for the rest of their lives.” He added, “We have the responsibility for the detainees that we have here, regardless of what the political flavor is outside there. We have the responsibility to provide for their safety, care and custody so all that we ask is that we get the resources we need to be able do that.”

Now there are 40 detainees at Guantanamo: five “who have been deemed eligible for transfer;” nine who have been charged in the military commission system and are in proceedings at various stages; and 26 who have neither been charged nor deemed eligible for transfer and who  are being held in indefinite detention under what the U.S. asserts are the international laws of war. Of these, 15 are being held in Camp 7, the super-max unit for “high-value detainees” who were previously in CIA custody.


These U.S. thoughts and plans totally ignore the world-wide outrage over the U.S. operation of this detention facility, the continuing challenges to these operations under U.S. and international law; and Cuba’s repeated insistence that the U.S. continued use of Guantanamo Bay, especially the detention facility, is an illegal occupation. The U.S., on the other hand, has a non-frivolous argument that the use of the territory is legal under Cuba’s 1903 lease of same to the U.S. This blogger has proposed an international arbitration to resolve this dispute and with the ultimate solution being an agreement for a new lease at a much higher annual rental and with conditions on the U.S. use of the facility.[2]


[1] Assoc. Press, US Military Plans for Future at Guantanamo Because of Trump, N.Y. Times (June 7, 2018).

[2]  These and other issues are discussed in the posts listed in the “U.S. & Guantanamo Bay, Cuba” section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries—Topical: CUBA.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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